×

Alicia, Go Yonder

Pic has a winning freshness culminating in a lovely sequence that captures the joys of connecting with a fellow spirit.

With:
With: Sofia Espinosa, Martin Piroyansky, Sofia Palomino, Sofia Celi, Fran Capra, Juan Palomino.

The stodgy English-lingo title is easily parodied, but “Alicia, Go Yonder” is a light-toned debut about a 19-year-old Mexican who heads to Patagonia to assuage her wanderlust and find herself. Largely improvised and unrehearsed, the pic has a winning freshness culminating in a lovely sequence that captures the joys of connecting with a fellow spirit. Helmer Elisa Miller plays with modes of seeing, including video diaries and Super 8, to achieve the nicely subjective sensation of a young woman’s inchoate thoughts gradually finding their focus. “Alicia” will go forth and prosper at fests and streaming sites.

Temporal shifts initially require auds to work out the here and now (it’s not difficult). Alicia (Sofia Espinosa) says an emotional goodbye to her parents and boards a plane for Buenos Aires with the vague idea of spending a few months in Argentina before returning around Christmas. She gets her hair cut short, works as a dog walker and takes acrobat classes, but when practicing with a trapeze, she’s unable to make the required leap into empty space.

Popular on Variety

Homesickness is tugging away, but before returning to Mexico, Alicia determined to go to southern Patagonia. Once there, feeling even more alone and melancholic, she meets a guy (Martin Piroyansky, “XXY”) also drawn to the glaciers.

The story is slight and the running time refreshingly slim, but Miller, whose short “Watching It Rain” won the 2007 Palme d’Or, enters into the uncertain world of a 19-year-old with great sensitivity. P.o.v. scenes shot through windows, windshields and other qualifying lenses, including a glass dessert cloche, creatively and subtly convey Alicia’s desire for full immersion. Yet, as demonstrated by the failed trapeze attempt, she’s not able to throw herself into the void quite yet.

In a video diary, the guy she meets asks himself, “Why do I think the way I do, see things the way I do?” Like Alicia, he’s frustrated by life’s subjectivity, trying to negotiate how to come to terms with all his options when he’s not even sure what his desires are. Miller doesn’t solve these questions for her characters but instead gives them space for their emotions, using means of perception to signal the exploration.

Thesps Espinosa and Piroyansky are effortlessly natural and have a great chemistry together once they finally meet, validating Miller’s decision to forego rehearsals for a more spontaneous feel. Handheld lensing is assured, and together with d.p. Maria Jose Secco (“Cold Water of the Sea”), the helmer has a striking eye for everyday images as well as the more spectacular expanses of ice and snow in Patagonia’s nether-regions.

Alicia, Go Yonder

Mexico

Production: A Cinepantera, Molinera presentation of a Cinepantera production. (International sales: Funny Balloons, Paris.) Produced by Christian Valdelievre, Elisa Miller. Co-producer, Rodolfo Miller. Directed, written by Elisa Miller.

Crew: Camera (color, HDV/Super 8-to-35mm), Maria Jose Secco; editor, Ares Botanch; music, Juan Pablo Ramirez; sound (Dolby SR), Sergio Diaz, Arturo Zarate. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Feb. 1, 2011. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 65 MIN.

With: With: Sofia Espinosa, Martin Piroyansky, Sofia Palomino, Sofia Celi, Fran Capra, Juan Palomino.

More Film

  • Joe Keery appears in Spree by

    'Spree': Film Review

    It didn’t seem like there was a large portion of the movie-going population who felt that Todd Phillips’ “Joker” was too subtle, in either its commentary on the modern era of those who are involuntarily celibate, or its homage-like appropriation of classic Martin Scorsese movies. But maybe writer-director-producer Eugene Kotlyarenko has other information, since that’s [...]

  • Dream Horse Review

    'Dream Horse': Film Review

    Louise Osmond’s 2015 Sundance audience winner “Dark Horse” was one of those documentaries that played like a crowdpleasing fiction, its real-life tale of underdog triumph had such a conventionally satisfying narrative arc. And indeed, the new “Dream Horse” proves that same material is indeed ready-made for dramatization. Euros Lyn’s feature springs few true surprises within [...]

  • Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein appear

    'The Nowhere Inn': Film Review

    Bill Benz’s high-concept rock mockumentary opens with a white limo speeding through the desert. The driver (Ezra Buzzington) has never heard of his passenger, the cult sensation Annie Clark, better known by her stage name St. Vincent. “I’m not for everybody,” she shrugs. The driver is unsatisfied. “Don’t worry,” he glowers. “We’ll find out who [...]

  • THE_GLORIAS_DM_02-12-2019-00128.arw

    'The Glorias': Film Review

    In “The Glorias,” Julie Taymor’s pinpoint timely yet rousingly old-fashioned biopic about the life and times of Gloria Steinem, the legendary feminist leader is portrayed by four different actresses at four different stages of her life. Alicia Vikander plays her as a young woman wearing a sari as she travels through India, planting her flag [...]

  • Black Bear

    'Black Bear': Film Review

    Actor-writer Lawrence Michael Levine’s first two directorial features, “Gabi on the Roof in July” and “Wild Canaries,” were idiosyncratic indie hipster comedies of a familiar stripe. His third, “Black Bear,” is a much trickier proposition, a kind of narrative puzzle box in which one might be hard-pressed to find a solution, or even determine there [...]

  • Wendy

    'Wendy': Film Review

    Eight long years after “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin brings that same rust-bottomed sense of magical realism to the legend of Peter Pan, reframing J.M. Barrie’s Victorian classic through the eyes of the eldest Darling. “Wendy,” as the indie-minded not-quite-family-film is aptly titled, re-envisions its title character as a working-class kiddo raised at [...]

  • The 40-Year-Old Version

    'The 40-Year-Old Version': Film Review

    In Radha Blank’s semi-autobiographical comedy, the quadruple-threat plays “Rahda Blank,” a Harlem-based playwright who faces many of the same struggles and setbacks as her creator. It’s been more than a decade since Radha (as we’ll call the character) earned a promising “30 Under 30” award, and now, instead of getting her work produced, she’s teaching [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content